I understand and sympathize with your dilemma. When Metalwerx
displays works of others at our education booth, we get people
leaning on cases, coffee cups on the cases, or on the floor, candy
wrappers, kids that want to touch, etc. Despite obvious waste paper
baskets, I make an effort to teach anyone who helps me in the booth
to stay on top of those by asking nicely, "can I hold that for you
while you take a look at the work?" Grateful observers either hand
over their coffee cups or ask immediately, "do you have a
wastebasket?" Always, always, have some backup in your booth. A good
opportunity to teach somebody the ropes of what you learned.
I think candy, chocolate especially works nicely, a little bling
recharge gift, but it is also placed in obvious eyesight of the waste
basket. The visual connection is made.
For kids, I have a section just for them to touch. Those kids for us
are a key target audience. Get them interested and then the parents
always hang around and become grateful. Understandably, we cannot
sell work at these shows, but are drumming up leads for classes.
However, we are responsible for all of the work because it is our
students and faculty members, not mine alone.
I bring along some indestructible "baubles" for the kids to handle
and maul. When they leave with sticky fingers, a quick wipe with a
disinfectant and we are good to go.
People are naturally curious and we try to capitalize on that.
For you, I would get the family's attention and bring out something
that is OK to handle, but place it on a velvet or fabric covered pad.
You elevate the quality and price by presentation and even kids
naturally slow down to touch the pretty jewelry. You can command
respect in your booth. You set the tone, approachable but respectful.
People will follow suit. If your work is out on lots of little cards,
it's subject to pawing over. They do it in Macy's, why not you?
What's the difference. YOU are the difference. It's your work, your
blood, sweat and tears. Look at the amount of marketing Macy's does
to get you to the point of looking and pawing, but the work is mass
made. Yours is not.
My thought is engage the kids first, set the respectful tone with
them and the parents will beam. Be kind to everyone, but you set the
boundaries of what is and what is not acceptable.
M E T A L W E R X
School for Jewelry and the Metalarts
50 Guinan St.
Waltham, MA 02451
781 891 3854